Wednesday, July 31, 2013


7-31-13 VERMONT: The last few days have felt like what Vermont used to feel like all summer. We need jackets in the evening and had a small fire last night. And it hasn’t rained for about three days. There was two inches in the rain gauge when we got back here after three days in NJ.

The pond is greenish from algae, but has no floating, lumpy stuff. I started siphoning water off the bottom of the pond. I dropped a mushroom anchor into the pond with a hose wired to it and attached the anchor line to a float so I can recover the set up. I filled three more hoses, one by one, and connected them in sequence leading them over the dam to the drainage brook. The water coming out of the hose is much murkier than the surface water. The surface water turns over a lot with all the rain we’ve had.

The water drains at 3.5 gal./ 3 min. That’s 7 gal., or ~ I cu. ft./ 6min, or 10 cu. ft./ hr., or 240 cu. ft./ day, or 7,200 cu. ft./ month. The pond is one-quarter acre, or about 11,000 sq. ft. and averages, perhaps, 5 ft. deep for 55,000 cu. ft. If I continue the draining for 3 or 4 months, that would be about half the pond capacity. But, of course, every new gallon mixes with the old water so noticeable change will take a while to occur.

Yesterday and today I pulled out a rotting post from the deck railing and replaced it with a 6 x 6 pressure treated new post and reattached the gate and rails. This afternoon I started replacing rotted skirt board trim, the white trim boards under the cedar clapboard siding on the house. I’m using Azek trim boards. That’s a white, non-wood, non-rotting, PVC material that handles like wood. Unfortunately, one of the old boards I pulled off revealed a rotted sill that I will need to replace before the trim can be replaced.

New blooms: soapwort.


Lily, real lily, and very aromatic.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Another Fair Day.

7-29-13 VERMONT: We came back up Saturday. Bill and Lynn joined us for a short visit that evening. They had a bit of trouble finding us, GPS can take you astray, and cell service is spotty at best. We ultimately had a nice dinner at Elixir in White River Junction.

The next day we went to the fair in North Haverhill, NH. It’s a bigger deal than last week’s fair. We saw cows, goats being judged, sheep, pigs, chicks, ducklings and a horse pull. In the pull teams of two horses try to pull a sled loaded with big cement blocks. After each round, more weight is added to the sled until only the championship team remains. We only stayed for a couple of teams. Neither the horses nor the drivers seemed to be having any fun.

We also saw a show called ‘Horses, Horses, Horses’. The trainer rode a large horse with many gaits and tricks and showed a bunch of miniature horses that also did tricks and took bows.

Needless to add, much fair food was consumed, but no one dared the rides.

New blooms: lilies, more phlox.

Handsome cow.

Horse pull, a team going for their attempt while other teams await their turn.

Bill, Stormy and Lynn after the show at 'Horses, Horses, Horses'.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

NJ Visit.

7-25-13 SHORT HILLS: We’re back in NJ to drop the boys off at EWR for a non-stop flight to SFO. You can’t go anywhere non-stop from VT. I took them to the airport this AM without a hitch through traffic, through the ‘Unaccompanied Minors’ desk, through security to the gate. After a sojourn in the waiting area they boarded first and the plane left on time. A few minutes later the airport was shut down with an emergency landing, apparently a minor episode, and is now open again. They just landed safely in San Fran.

Here the weather is almost cool. It’s overcast and the winds are calm. In the yard, it’s a bit weedy and overgrown, but nothing has died. Lots of the trees and shrubs have dead twigs with brown leaves hanging from the ends of live branches. The work of the cicada, they lay eggs in the growing twigs. The larvae hatch out, killing the twig, drop to the ground and burrow in for their seventeen-year nap.

In bloom: rose-of-Sharon, roses, hydrangea.

Nice color on this hydrangea.

Rose-of-Sharon, a mid-summer treat.

Monday, July 22, 2013

A Fair Day.

7-22-13 VERMONT: Yesterday may have been the prettiest day of July, at least so far. It was dry, not hot, sunny and not sticky. Val and Steve picked up Lucy at the end of her camp session.

We all went to the fair in Bradford, VT. It’s small-to-medium sized fair, and we got there in time for the monster truck rally. The trucks are raced through bumps and mud, creating storms of dirt, water, steam, exhaust accompanied by roars and snarls. The monsters are regular SUV bodies mounted on giant tires and suspensions.

After that some of us did outrageous rides, and some of us ate boomin’ onions and pulled pork, others had cotton candy and maple sugar candy. Games were played, and everyone had enough after three hours.

Today I weeded and weed-whacked the terrace.

New blooms: Shasta daisy, helenium, red lobelia.

Part of the hybrid daylily bed with reds, whites, pinks, purples, yellows and more.

On a different note, also colorful.....

Smoke, exhaust, mud, water, dust and lots of noise.

The midway.

Does this look like fun???

From atop the ferris wheel.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Visiting Day.

7-20-13 VERMONT: Today is down in the mid-eighties after more of the nineties. Each of the last two days ended with a T-storm, and last night with a power outage for eight hours.

Eoin and Joe spent most of the hot days in the pond along with our neighbor’s kids, Gavin and Caitlyn. Water guns that are popular now look like WMD’s and ought to require a background check before permission to buy. They got a lot of use, as did the boat and a bunch of floaties.

Today was camp visitation for Val and Steve. We brought pizzas, root beer and Judy’s brownies for picnic lunch with them and Lucy.

The blueberries are ripening, and I picked two quarts yesterday. The corn has tassels and beginning ears. The tomatoes all have green fruit.

New blooms: echinacea, Joe Pye weed, clematis, ligularia, goose-neck loosestrife.

Kids know what to do when it's in the nineties.

Hybrid daylily.

Hybrid daylily, three shades of magenta and yellow.

Hybrid daylily, double, twelve petals, twelve stamen, twelve anthers and two stigmas.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Return of the Septic System.

7-17-13 VERMONT: Hot—93°, and humid. Even the boys, usually behaving like fish, are in the house watching HGTV with Judy.

The pumping station is fixed and equipped with a beautiful, brand new pump. The problem was that one of the floating switches had malfunctioned. There are two switches to control the pump, an upper one turns the pump on when the liquid level rises and the lower one turns it off so that it doesn’t suck up sludge. A third float detects pump failure and sets off the alarm.

Anyway, the dirt and sod are replaced and, in a few weeks, there will be no sign of the digging.

New blooms: summer azalea, potentilla.

Native day lilies border the back of the pond.

Hybrid daylily with broad petals and two colors.

Another hybrid daylily, thin petals, one color.

Not a daylily, but summer azalea.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Los Gatos Guerillas Get Here.

7-15-13 VERMONT: The Californians have invaded for their usual summer visit. Siobhan brought Eoin and Joe via Burlington, stayed for a couple days that included an auction preview at Smith’s. Between Judy and Siobhan, many bids were left.

The rain has stopped, at least for a few days, but it remains quite hot and very humid. The septic system chose now to act up, and I got out the shovels and uncovered the pumping station and the septic tank so they could be pumped out which happened this morning. We are waiting for electrician/plumbers to show up and determine if the pump is just malfunctioning or dead. I re-buried the tank cover, with help from the boys.

The floats and the boat are getting a work out, and the frogs and turtles have been netted and terrorized.

New blooms: lots of hybrid daylilies.

Hybrid Daylily shows patterns of threes in outer petals and inner petals, the mark of the monocotyledon.

Frog and turtle enjoying the water lily flower.

Turtle has been too distracted by the flowers to avoid getting snatched. He is safely back in the pond, hopefully a little wiser.

Another hybrid daylily, this one in red.

Friday, July 12, 2013

The Weather Changes.

7-12-13 VERMONT: The last twenty-four hours have been beautiful, low humidity, warm, sunny, little breeze, and no rain. The two days before had low, dark gray ceilings and deadly humidity and heat.

Today is what Vermont is supposed to feel like. I have been doing the usual, weeding and pruning. I probably say this every year, but things all seem early this year. I will look back at last year’s diary and check. It’s time to add the second batch of Aqua Pucks to the pond, I think they’re helping with the water quality.

New blooms: monarda, delphinium, mallow, pickerel weed.

Daylilies showing off.

Mallow, spreads nicely own its own.

Bee Balm, Monarda, spreads almost too easily, but bees and hummers love it.

Monday, July 08, 2013

How Do You Build an Ark?

7-8-13 VERMONT: The daily rains continue, last night it rained after a hot and muggy day, stopped this morning and then re-started with a torrential downpour as we were finishing our camp visit to grandd Lucy and a bunch of her friends at Aloha. The pizza disappeared so fast I thought it was an illusion.

Today’s rain stopped, at least for the moment, a short time ago in late afternoon. I went out and emptied the boat and rain gauge, 1.3 inches, and got my feet soaked in the process.

Yesterday I filled in some holes that Maizie dug, getting to be another daily occurrence, and then found some daylilies languishing under a stand of burning bushes, dug them up and re-planted them on the back of the pond where there are many other such clusters.

Of course there’s always some pruning and weeding to do.

New blooms: salvia ‘purple rain’ [out for a while], hollyhock, yarrow.

Hollyhocks, these are new, last years didn't survive the winter.

This hybrid daylily says 'peach' to me and that ant.

We had a clear night, before, after or before and after another rain.

Rosebay rhodos seem fine with the weather.

Friday, July 05, 2013

Hot Times on the Fourth.

7-5-13 VERMONT: The heat today and yesterday has been enervating. We’ve been in the nineties both days, with high humidity and very little breeze. Doing the slightest exertion outside, such as walking slowly, leaves me drenched.

We went for thirty-six hours with no rain, but late afternoon yesterday gave us a short downpour, 0.2 inches, with lightening, that washed out the other fireworks. We were in the southern edge of the storm cell, so folks to the north got the brunt of it. The storm was considerate enough to let us finish grilling before it whacked us. I sure more storms are forming as it gets hotter today.

New blooms: valerian [forgot to mention last week].

Interesting sky after the rain storm.

Early morning sun lights up the mist and the dew.

Wednesday, July 03, 2013

Tomatoes Captured.

7-3-13 VERMONT: The weather today is a little different, no rain for over twelve hours. I started the day as usual, emptying the boat and rain gauge, 0.8 inches this morning. We have had about 8 inches in the last 2 weeks. The rain has occasionally come with thunder, distant thunder, and little or no wind.

I put up the tomato cages today. The plants are almost all growing vigorously and the corn is almost knee high in spite of a lot of cool weather. Maizie is almost knee high also. Some of the tomatoes had the tops bitten off by some unknown critter so I turned the electric fence on.

New blooms: native daylily, first hosta, hydrangea, pink spirea.

First native daylily, one of my July favorites. They usually bloom for the entire month, and then it's August. I know I keep listing favorites, but I'm fickle.

Spirea have been out for a few days.

I just noticed this Mock Orange volunteer growing by the driveway entrance. It has nice fragrance and is clearly enjoyed by pollinators.

Monday, July 01, 2013


7-1-13 VERMONT: Rain and more rain, every day for ten days. Yesterday was fairly decent early, and I did garden pruning and dead-heading. Many peony blossoms got so wet and heavy that they hung down to the ground and rotted. I also transplanted several yarrow, white and pink, daisy and dianthus to the pond fringe from the pasture. And then it rained.

We got a rainbow a couple days ago as the rain was clearing along with a bunch of pink clouds.

New blooms: filipendula, mock orange, wild black-eyed susan.

Rainbow over the pond.

Pink clouds

Peony, I like these simple peonies more than the showier doubles.